The Tuesday Inbox asks for suggestions for a five-year-old’s first console game, as one reader is confused about the Shenmue timeline.
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So, with the reveal of the PlayStation 5 and Project Scarlett probably no more than three or four months away now I’ve got to wonder what are Nintendo going to do about all this? I read something the other day that they’re thinking of extending the life of the console more than previously expected, although to be honest I thought they were doing this anyway.
I don’t really believe Nintendo when they say things like that though. Not that I think they’re trying to deceive customers but I think they say whatever keeps investors off their back and then just play things by ear. The way I figure it they’ve got two options: keep the Switch going for years with updates like the Switch Lite and the mythical Switch Pro. Which seems perfectly reasonable as phone tech hasn’t improved much for a long time and the Switch is still better than that.
The other option is to do the usual generational thing and have a Switch 2 in two or three years. That makes more sense to me, to be honest. Anything else is too risky and untested as a way of doing things, so why rock the boat? It didn’t matter that the Switch released halfway through this gen so why should it matter if the Switch 2 does? It’s the games that sale the console and that goes triple for Nintendo. So, my prediction for the Switch 2 release date? Spring 2022. Book it!
No end in sight
I am yet to play Shenmue 3, but am a big fan of the first two. I have to say I am a bit confused regarding it needing further games to finish off the story. My impression was that the story was always meant to be a trilogy, and the reason fans have been up in arms for the best part of 20 years is because the story was never finished.
We then get our wish of a new game but the story still is not finished? I am fully aware of the game’s shortcomings but I am a fan of the strange charm and was really looking forward to seeing the conclusion of the story. I am not sure I want to wait more and more years for further instalments. Can anyone shed any light on this please?
GC: Yu Suzuki has never said anything about finishing the story by the third game. The original plan called for 11 chapters (16 in earlier versions of the story), with Shenmue 2 getting to the end of chapter five, including one chapter between the first two games that only took place in a manga. He’s said that if Shenmue 4 and 5 never get made he’d rather finish the story in a manga too.
I have a five-year-old, and as such have not bought any of the current gen consoles, as would never have the time to play them. However, he’s now starting to get to the age where I think he’s ready to be introduced to some simple games, but I want him to be playing something good, rather than the usual dross you get on mobile phones. I’ve therefore taken the plunge and bought a Switch and will likely follow that up with one of the next gen consoles in a few years’ time.
My question is, what games would be best for him? So far I have Zelda: Breath Of The Wild and Super Mario Odyssey for me because I think they are too advanced for him at the moment, and Mario Kart, which he has tried and loved and will no doubt improve at over time.
Any thoughts from yourselves or other readers would be most appreciated.
GC: The usual answer for this is a Kirby or Yoshi game. Kirby Star Allies is a particularly weak Kirby entry but Yoshi’s Crafted World is relatively easy during the early levels and has co-op. Fire Emblem Warriors and Hyrule Warriors are more violent but their mindless action may be useful in your situation. Also, don’t forget Mario Kart 8 has auto-steer and auto-accelerate options which are ideal for novice gamers.
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I recently downloaded Zelda: Ocarina Of Time to the 3DS, having not played it since it came out all those years ago. I’ve only got as far as Dodongo’s Cavern but the great thing about it is having not played it in 20 years it triggers the old memories but I’ve forgotten the solutions to the many puzzles. Majora’s Mask next…
Chevy_Malibu (PSN ID)
PS: Does anyone else switch off the 3D effect in 3DS games? I do because the slightest movement gives a ghosting effect that makes me concentrate more on holding the console rigid than playing the games. That sweet spot is way too narrow.
GC: The New 3DS models had an extra sensor to detect what angle you’re holding the screen, which made the 3D effect more stable.
RE: Phil’s letter concerning General Kawarada. I killed him eventually by sneaking and brute force. Sneak up behind him to remove a health point with a death blow, then immediately whale on him with the axe prosthetic you find in Hirata Estate.
No finesse, no deflecting, only one use of the sword then use the axe as fast as you can. He’ll barely stand up, hope this helps.
Chevy_Malibu (PSN ID)
One legitimate disappointment I had with Luigi’s Mansion 3, and one aspect that the first game did better, was the final boss. The bosses had all been of a high quality up until that point and things even started off well.
Except, when it came to the last phase I found myself fighting the controls more than at any point in the game. You’re suddenly up against the clock and his attacks become faster and more frequent. Evading him isn’t a severe problem. It became easy after a few silly mistakes on my part – it was simply that the window of opportunity for attack is so tiny and you have to be able to pick up a projectile that can explode in your face, identify which target has his gob open and then accurately fire it.
And often he would go straight into his next attack immediately after you get a bomb to use. Thankfully, it only takes one shot – but this was all needlessly stressful and they appear to have designed themselves into a corner in how the whole boss was set up in the first place.
This soured the experience, really. It was great fun – right up until then. And I don’t mind playing a fun game again even when there’s little to no post-game content. But, fighting King Boo in the original was a pleasure and a great finale – I assume the second didn’t do too badly in this regard – but this makes me think twice about playing it in the future. Knowing that a cheap boss awaits at the climax puts me off. Or am I talking nonsense, here?
GC: It kind of sounds like it? If we understand, you’re considering not playing one game because you didn’t like the final boss in a different game… even though you enjoyed everything up until that point? Also, there’s tons of post-game content in Luigi’s Mansion 3.
It was a nice surprise when they announced the next gen consoles would have SSDs and support ray-tracing at a hardware level, both very much features no previous consoles could support while maintaining a relatively reasonable price. It’ll be interesting to see just how much the PlayStation 5 and Project Scarlett will cost.
The benefits of SSD are pretty well known and accepted but ray-tracing is a more unknown feature as its newer and results vary due to how well the developer implements it. But just as HDR is getting plaudits over 4K for providing a next gen viewing experience I’m pretty sure ray-tracing will do a similar service to next gen games.
I was watching this vid from Digital Foundry on a new RTX patch for Quake 2, showing how ray-tracing can help make materials look more like real life. I remember playing Bloodborne and being so impressed with how it conveyed materials, especially when your clothing would be wet and slick with blood. Don’t remember too many occasions this gen where I felt the graphics really conveyed texture in such a way but expect it to be a regular occurrence on the next gen.
I think also the new remaster will be the ray-traced remaster.
GC: Why Quake 2, of all games?!
RE: Spooky Dreamer. If you go into your local Argos store and they haven’t got the game on sale that you want, they can often order it in for you from their local hub store for collection the same day after 4pm, or the following morning after 9am.
If it’s coming in the next morning after the sale day, they will honour the sale price. I do have to agree that the Black Friday sales this year were quite poor. I did pretty well myself though. I got Marvel’s Spider-Man on PlayStation 4 from Argos for £13.99 and I got £300 off my new Samsung Galaxy S10 from O2.
A wizard did it
I bought Celeste this weekend and ended up completing it rapidly. I just couldn’t put it down.
I have depression but found myself feeling better whilst playing and thinking about Celeste. Few of my hobbies provide the enjoyment they once did but Celeste caused that fog to dissipate.
Somehow, Matt Makes Games created a vivid, arresting link between platforming and overcoming obstacles both physical and mental. I’m not sure how such a thing is possible without wizardry.
I felt like every leap, puzzle, and screen represented my own struggle in its own way. Somehow, by helping Madeline through each trial, through each individual leap I was also thinking about and dealing with my own. At times I was making leaps of faith, not knowing how I would make it through a particular obstacle, but I did it anyway. The game encourages the player to try. To just try. That message is incredibly powerful. The battle is won in the trying.
Her struggle became mine and vice versa. I am not ashamed to say I was brought to tears several times, not by the punishing difficulty (!) but by the way Madeline describes her illness. How the developer depicted that illness.
I couldn’t put the game down. I had to finish it. Now, I wish I could play it again for the first time.
I’m not entirely sure how a platform game brought me solace from my illness. Nor do I know whether the lessons it taught me will pervade but for now I am happier for having experienced Celeste.
Thank you for your wonderful journalism and reviews. I don’t play games very often anymore but I still read GC every day.
I bought Thumper, too. My word it’s disconcerting but it occupies all my faculties and that can be a huge relief when feeling low.
Best wishes to you and all your readers.
GC: Thank you for the email, it’s good to know that games can have such a positive effect. We’d be happy to run a longer version of this letter as a Reader’s Feature if you felt up to it, as it’s a very interesting topic.
Are you going to review New Super Lucky’s Tale on the Switch?
GC: No, the Xbox One original was awful.
Don’t disagree with GC’s review of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order but I’ve got to say, the last hour or so was really good. Wish the whole game had that sort of drive and character work.
This week’s Hot Topic
With Black Friday just gone, the subject for this weekend’s Inbox is what’s been your best video game bargain of the year?
Even if it wasn’t recently, what game, console, or other video game-related items have you bought for cheap and why were you so pleased with it? Were you specifically waiting for it to go cheap or did you take a chance on it because of the price?
How normal is it for you to buy something in this way and generally how often do you buy games at close to full price, as opposed to when on sale? Also, please mark your letters for either the Hot Topic or weekday Inbox, as it’s already becoming difficult working out which are meant for which.
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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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